Exchanging insurance info after an accident.

When you have been injured in a car crash, slip-and-fall, or another type of accident, one of the main ways of recovering compensation is to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, most insurers are reluctant to pay claims, and negotiating with them probably won’t be easy. 

Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses that prioritize financial interests above anything else. But this article will offer some helpful suggestions for negotiating with insurance companies. 

Hiring a Bellevue personal injury lawyer gives you your best chance at securing a fair settlement after being injured in an accident. The personal injury attorneys at our law firm are skilled negotiators. Contact us today to schedule a free case review. 

Understand the Role of the Insurance Company

Keep in mind that regardless of how kind and friendly insurance adjusters appear, they are not your friends and do not have your best interests in mind. Adjusters work for the insurance company – the opposing party in your case. 

The primary role of an insurance adjuster is to:

  • Save the insurance company as much money as possible
  • Convince claimants to accept low settlements
  • Uncover any information that can be used to deny claims or reduce their value

You need to keep your guard up even when dealing with your own insurer. Insurance companies will use tricks and tactics to avoid paying high settlement amounts. The bottom line is that they want to pay out as little as they can. 

Beware of Commonly Used Insurance Company Tactics

Insurance is meant to provide peace of mind and be a safety net in times of need. Unfortunately, when it comes time to file a claim, policyholders often find themselves in the middle of a battle with the insurance company. 

All too often, insurers use tactics to devalue claims and pressure people into accepting low settlements, maximizing their profits at the expense of their customers. 

Beware of the following tactics when negotiating with insurance companies:

  • Contact you immediately: You may be surprised how quickly you hear from an insurance adjuster after an accident. If you are still suffering from the shock and pain of the accident, you might say or agree to something that affects your claim. 
  • Act as if they care about you: Insurance adjusters may act like they are your friends so that you let your guard down and trust them. Their goal is to get you to talk more freely, hoping that you will say something that can later be used against you. 
  • Offer a fast and low settlement: The insurance company knows that accident victims need money for medical bills and other expenses after being injured. They take advantage of this by offering quick settlement payouts that appear to be fair. Claimants may accept an initial offer without realizing it is far less than their claim is worth. 
  • Denial of valid claims: An insurance company may outright deny a valid claim, giving some ambiguous policy language or minor technicalities as a reason. They do this assuming that many people won’t have the knowledge or resources to challenge the denial.
  • Ask for unreasonable proof of damages: You are required to provide proof of your injuries and damages when filing an insurance claim. However, some insurance companies may ask for additional proof of damages that are difficult to provide. This will cause some people to drop their claims out of frustration. 
  • Place the blame on you: The insurance company may try to place all or part of the blame on you. In some states, like Nebraska, the amount of compensation awarded is reduced by a person’s percentage of fault in the accident. This could reduce your payout significantly, depending on the percentage of blame the insurer places on you. 
  • Discourage you from hiring a Bellevue personal injury lawyer: Insurance agents may use terms like, “This is a simple case,” or “Hiring a lawyer will only delay the process,” to try to discourage you from getting legal help. These statements are not made in good faith. Insurance companies would prefer to negotiate with you directly because they think they can convince you to accept less money. 

Negotiating a Fair Insurance Settlement in Bellevue, Nebraska

It can be tempting to take the cash and run when an insurance company offers you a quick payout following an accident in Bellevue. However, the amount the insurer offers you may not be enough to cover your medical bills – let alone your lost wages, property damage, and other damages. You could be left paying for these expenses out-of-pocket. 

By following the following tips, you can maximize your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.

1. Know your policy

Insurance companies may bank on the fact that a lot of people will not take the time to actually read their insurance policies. 

Familiarize yourself with the terms and coverage limits of your insurance policy. Understanding what you are entitled to can prevent insurance agents from exploiting loopholes or denying valid claims. 

2. Gather evidence

Before you begin to negotiate with the insurance company, be sure to gather all relevant evidence related to your personal injury claim. 

This may include:

  • Photos of the accident scene and your injuries
  • Medical records
  • Copies of medical bills
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police reports
  • Other documentation that supports your claim

Having a well-organized collection of evidence will make it easier for you to present a strong case during negotiations. 

3. Initiate the claim as quickly as possible

Successful personal injury claims require strong supporting evidence. Unfortunately, evidence can quickly be lost or destroyed after an accident. For this reason, file a claim as quickly as you can following your accident. 

Additionally, all personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations. If you do not file within the allowed time limit, you could completely lose your right to compensation. 

4. Be honest but stick to the facts

Insurers will need to be provided with some basic information about the accident, your injuries, and their impact on your life. Misrepresentation or exaggeration could undermine your credibility and jeopardize your personal injury claim. 

On the other hand, insurers should only be provided with the facts of your case. Insurance adjusters often try to engage claimants in conversation because they are looking for statements that they can use against them. For this reason, it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer and let him or her communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. 

5. Know the value of your claim

According to statistics, the average cost of damages for a person who has sustained evident car accident injuries is $42,000. But each case is unique to itself.

Before negotiating with the insurer, it is critical to have an accurate understanding of the full value of your claim. Without this knowledge, it is unlikely that you will get a fair settlement. 

You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other financial losses related to your injury

If you are unsure of the value of your claim, do not hesitate to reach out to a Bellevue personal injury lawyer. 

6. Don’t settle too early

Insurance companies are known to make lowball offerings in the hopes of getting claims settled quickly and cheaply. It is important to be patient and persistent during the negotiation process

Resist the temptation to accept the first offer and take the time to assess the full extent of your injuries and losses. Do not be afraid to reject low offers and continue negotiating until you reach a fair settlement amount. 

Keep in mind that you have the right to take legal action if the insurance company refuses to provide you with fair compensation. 

7. Get the settlement in writing

Insurance negotiations are often done over the phone. Before accepting an insurer’s offer, make sure to get it in writing. When you have a personal injury lawyer handling negotiations for you, he or she will make sure that the insurance company provides you with a legally binding written agreement. 

This will help to reduce the chance of confusion about the settlement. A written document will also be valuable evidence if the insurance company tries to retract its offer or delay your payout. 

8. Seek legal counsel

One of the most effective ways to maximize your personal injury settlement is to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer

Skilled attorneys, like the ones at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf, and Lathrop, can help you navigate each step of the negotiation process through to resolution. Personal injury lawyers can provide valuable advice and ensure that your rights are protected. They can also represent you in court if they are unable to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.

A Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Get a Fair Settlement

Communication with the insurance company is one of the most challenging aspects of recovering compensation in any accident case. Insurance companies will take advantage of accident victims if it means furthering their financial goals. 

Hiring a Bellevue personal injury attorney from the start of your claim can help to level the playing field against insurance companies. The attorneys at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf, and Lathrop, P.C. are skilled negotiators. We are not intimidated by large insurance companies and won’t back down until our clients get the compensation they deserve. 

Contact our law firm today to schedule a no-risk, no-obligation, free case consultationComplete the contact form or call us 24/7 at (402) 241-5020.

by Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop
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